blue flamingos

Common Ground

Fandom: Firefly

Category/Rated: Gen, G

Year/Length: 2007/ ~623 words

Pairing: Wash & Simon

Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

Summary: "waiting is the hardest part"

Author's Notes: cut off before it turned into a 5000 word action/adventure/Wash&Simon bonding fic (which I now want to write, grr!)

Feedback: Yes please. Even if it's bad. Especially if it's bad.

hr

"How long have they been gone?" Simon asks, standing in the open doorway onto the bridge, like he's not sure he'll be welcome, even after two months on Serenity.

"Two hours, give or take." Two hours, fourteen minutes, but Simon doesn't need to know Wash is counting. "Shouldn't expect them back for another couple of hours at least."

"No, I know." Simon keeps standing there, not quite looking at Wash, who kicks his feet up on the control panel; Mal's not gonna know, and anyway, it's Wash's flight deck, he can put his feet on it if he wants. "They'd call if anything went wrong."

Wash isn't sure if it's a question or not. "Of course," he says confidently, and doesn't mention all the times they got into trouble and couldn't call, or got into trouble and *didn't* call, just crashed onto Serenity with the local thugs in hot pursuit. "It's a drop off, even Mal shouldn't mess that up."

Simon's eyes flicker up for a second and Wash laughs at his expression. "Zoë's there to keep an eye on him," he points out. "She mostly keeps him out of getting into worse trouble."

"She's very good at it," Simon says diplomatically.

Wash wants to ask what he's doing there; he never really comes onto the bridge unless he's invited, and River's been louder, more troublesome last few days. Of course, Jayne's been left behind on this job, and even Wash sometimes wants to lock himself away when Jayne's prowling the ship waiting to start something.

"I suppose you're used to this," Simon says after a while. "Being left behind."

Wash shrugs. "Well, I'm not much good when there's shooting involved, and Mal's contacts don't generally take well to strangers. Plus, someone's got to be here for the daring escape flight."

"Of course," Simon says, completely deadpan. Wash's watching him, though, and he catches the tiny smile that says Simon might be decent company if he relaxed.

"Are you implying something about my flying?" he demands, mock-outraged, and Simon smiles again, just a bit.

"I wouldn't dream of it," he says.

"See that you don't," Wash says. He looks at the clock again, can't help it. Two and a half hours now.

"Do you worry about her?" Simon asks hesitantly. Wash wonders if there's a way to invite him in without making him run away, decides there probably isn't.

"Both of them," he confesses. "Even Jayne, sometimes." He still thinks of himself as one of the grown-ups on the ship, even more since they took on Simon and River. It was always understood, or he always understood, that he was there to protect Serenity, Kaylee and Inara when the others were off committing crimes, and now he feels like he has to do it for River and Simon as well. Someone has to be left behind to worry though, and he's got time to do both.

"Really?" Simon asks. "I'd have though Jayne could look after himself."

"They all can," Wash says. "They just don't, always."

Simon nods, all traces of the smile gone; Wash thinks he's thinking about River, years of being left behind to worry about her. It's really not all that different.

"Never had a problem we couldn't fix yet, though," he adds, because Simon gets kind of depressed and that's one thing they can definitely live without.

"I'm sure," Simon says, formal like he gets sometimes, and that's when the comm system bleeps.

"Uh, Wash," Mal's voice says, sounding a little strained. "Wonder if you could trouble to send Jayne down to meet us."

"No problem, Captain," Wash says, and doesn't meet Simon's eye, afraid he's going to laugh. "He's on his way."


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